Friday, February 21, 2014

Colorful Black bean Salad

 Here is a very simple, hearty and delectable salad.

The only job, trust me is to chop a few vegetables in to bite site pieces similar to the black beans. One can use chick peas, red kidney beans or moong beans. I used canned black beans plus what I had in my refrigerator. fell free to play with any veggies that you may want to use.

Get Ready ( serves 4)

  • 1 15 oz can of balck beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 small onion chopped ( red would be the best)
  • 1 orange bell pepper de seeded and chopped
  • 6-7 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 small mango chopped ( iused the one sliced from costco)
  • 1 corn steamed and separate the kernels ( frozen will work fine too)
  • plenty of chopped cilantro
  • 2 green chillies finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp chaat masala
  • salt to taste


Seriously nothing other than mixing everything and eating.

one does not even need a dressing for this salad. The juice from tomato plus chaat masala will be sufficient.

It is sweet, crunchy, spicy and wonderful!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Zucchini Moor koottan / Zucchini moru curry

Zucchini / cougette is a type of squash available in summer in USA. I did not know that it is also called seemai sorakkai in India. I have never eaten in before I came abroad. I have made a simple vegetable dish with onion and channal dal which my kids love. Yes, sorry, i have never bothered to post that on my blog. Zucchini has a lot of water and can get easily over cooked which has happened to me ehile making kootu !

I have also made  Zucchini Rice which tastes nice which you can check it out.

This time i made a moor kootan with Zucchini and we all loved it. Here is the recipe!

Get Ready

  • 1 zucchini washed and cut in big chunks
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt/ thayir whisked

To Grind

  • 2-3 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp rice
  •  1/4 tsp jeera
  • 1 green chili
  • small piece of ginger ( optional)

To Temper/ tadka/ thallika

  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil ( or nay oil)
  • 1/2 tsp kadugu/ mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp vendhayam/ fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida/ hing
  • few curry leaves

  • In a bowl add 3/4 cup water, pieces of zuke, turmeric powder, salt and cook till zucchini is just soft. as I warned you it can get mushy pretty fast, so keep an eye on the cooking time.
  • Grind all the ingredients under to grind with little water to a fine paste and set aside.
  • add the whisked yogurt, ground paste to the cooked zucchini.
  •  adjust salt to taste.
  • Heat on low flame till the mixture gets frothy around the sides, turn the heat off
  •  in another pan, add oil and temper with kadugu, vendhayam, asafetida, curry leaves and por it on the zuke curry.

Serve hot with rice, potato fry or as a side dish for idli, dosa or adai

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mixed vegetable Kurma

Certain events, smells, food etc in life bring back great memories.
One such thing for me is vegetable kurma! Growing up in a very orthodox tambram household eating kurma/ kuruma was out of question, even if it was full of vegetables. 
The strong garlic flavored kurma s served with parottas were a treat if we went to eat out, which we rarely did too!
I first tasted a very flavorful kurma at my dear friend Aarthi's house in Brooklyn, NYC! Yes, you read that correct,of all the places , brooklyn. We both were residents and she invited my family for dinner at her place. She served kurma with ghee rice and I still recall that wonderful aroma and taste of the food served by Aarthi.

I have modified it a little to my ease and here I present with the wonderful vegetable Kurma.
My MIL made idiyappams ( recipe to follow soon) and we devoured them with this kurma.

Get Ready ( serves 6- 8 people)

  • 3 cups mixed frozen vegetables
  • 1 large potato peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion sliced ( i used some left over red and white onions)
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 cloves
  • 1 cardamom
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste

 To grind

  • 2 green chillies ( more if you need hot)
  • 2 inch piece ginger peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp khus khus/ kasa kasa/ poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp cashews 9 soak the kasa kasa and cashews in little water)
  • 1 tbsp saunf/ sombu
  • 2 cloves of garlic ( optional) i did not use garlic
  • 1/3 cup grated coconut


  • Soak the kasa kasa cashews for 20 mins. Gind it with coconut, saunf, green chilli and ginger and garlic
  •  ( optional) into a fine paste with little water. keep aside
  • in a  samll pressure cooker, add oil and add the bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and fry for few seconds.
  • When fragrant, add the onions and saute till translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes and fry for a few mins.
  • Add the mixed veggies, potato and  saute for 1-2 mins.
  • Add the ground coconut paste, water just barely enough to cover the vegetables and salt to taste.
  • Cover the cooker and pressure cook for 1 whistle. simmer for 7-10 mins and turn the heat off.

Serve hot with idiyappam, aapam, chappathi or puttu.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fruit salad

Thanks giving is round the corner! All you peeps must be getting ready to have friends and family over to celebrate!
So here is an easy dessert that will be a crowd pleaser. The only work is chopping the fruits, but you must be having a lot of manpower in the household. So put them to use..!

A very easy make ahead dish and that will make you a rock star in any party!

Get Ready

  • 1, 8 oz tub Cool whip lite
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 mangoes diced small
  • 1/2 cup grapes cut in half
  • 1 small tub blueberries
  • 1 pear peeled and diced ( soak them in water mixed with lemon juice so they don't brown)
  • 3 cups strawberries hulled and chopped
  • chopped nuts like walnuts, almonds ( optional)

any other fruits that you have in hand  like oranges, apples, cantaloupe, pineapple and bananas

  • In a bowl add the cool whip, sour cream, sugar. Whip till the sugar is well incorporated
  • Add the chopped fruits, toss them well
  • Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate.
  • Add bananas, apple etc at the end before serving so they don't change color.
  • Serve chilled as a dessert.

Also check out my cranberry orange bread and Cranberry Salsa

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Aloo Methi / Potato and Fenugreek greens curry

Fenugreek greens or mendhiya keerai  is widely used in the Indian cuisine. The seeds, green leaves and dries leaves are used in cooking. It has a distinctive sweet smell and the seeds are pretty bitter.
It is thought to have a lot of medicinal value to improve glucose tolerance in diabetics. Did you know it can increase milk production in nursing mothers too!

Aloo methi is a very simple dry curry/ subzi which is easy to put together. I used half a bunch that I got from the Indian store.

Get ready
  • Potatoes 4-5 peeled and cubed medium
  • Water enough to cook the potatoes
  • Methi leaves  ( washed, picked and chopped ) 1 cup
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds / kadugu
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal/ ulutham paruppu
  • 1/8 tsp asafetida or 3 squirts from the bottle
  • 1/2 tsp red  chilli powder ( increase as per taste)
  • 1/2 tsp pav bhaji masala or amchur  powder ( optional)
  • Salt to taste

  • In a pan add the potatoes, cover with enough water . Add a pinch of salt and the turmeric powder and cook till they are soft, but not mushy. You can microwave them with water too. Drain water and set aside

  • In another pan, add oil and add the mustard seeds, urad dal, red chilli, asafetida and do the tempering.

  • Add the methi leaves and sauté them till the wilt.

  • Add the cooked potatoes, red chilli powder, salt, red chilli powder, pav bhaji masala and toss.

  • On medium to low heat, cover the pan and cook tossing in between to roast the potatoes.
  • To get some crispness, spray some cooking oil on the potatoes.
  • Cook on low fire till potatoes are golden and crispy.
  • Serve hot with rice, chapathi or top it over bread toast.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dal Paalak / Lentils & Spinach Curry

Fall is in the air and it means the season for families to be together and have fun and of course more food.
Endless pumpkin recipes, candies and desserts begin to show up everywhere in the blog world.
But here I present a very humble dish, which most people already know.

A very simple and easy lentil curry for chapathi/ rice. My little girl who would normally have nothing to do with spinach ate this curry. I mixed with some steaming rice and ghee and ate with out a peep!

Victory dance for me....!

The lentils in the dish absorb a lot of water over time. So if the dish is a tad runny, it will thicken once cooled. same way you can add some hot water to dilute it if too thick.

Get Set

  • 1/3 cup  red lentils/ masoor dal ( can use toor dal or yellow moong dal)
  • 3 cups of chopped spinach
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 small tomato chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1&1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small jalapeno ( optional) ( i used a red chilli as i did not have jalapeno)
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice ( optional)


  • Pressure cook the lentils with water just enough to cover them for 2-3 whistles and set aside. If cooking on stove top,wash and soak them in water for 30 mins, before cooking. this fastens the cooking process.

  • In a pan add oil, when hot add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle.

  • Add the chopped onions, jalapeno and saute till they are slightly browned over medium heat.

  •  add the tomatoes, ginger, red chilli powder and cook till the tomatoes are mushy.
  •  add the chopped spinach, turmeric powder and saute till the spinach wilts.
  • Mash the cooked lentils and add it to the spinach mixture.

  • Add the water little by little till you get the desired consistency.
  • Add salt, cover and simmer for 5 mins.
  • Uncover, add garam masala powder and cook for 2-3 mins on low heat.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vazhakkai Podi / Plantain Crumble

Hello my dearies! How is the week going for you all?
Plantain or raw banana is not something i frequently cook with. They are either too ripe or I will my chance to pick them up from Indian store when the shipment comes.
I got hold of some recently and wanted to make a podimas which my mom used to make.

Tastes good with sambar/ rasam/ pulissery rice.
Tried my hands on taking pics while cooking, not the best though!

Get Ready  ( serves 2-4 )

  • 2 raw banana/ plantain/ vazhakkai
  • 2 tbsp channa dal
  • 1  dried red chilli ( more if you want the heat)
  • 1 tsp grated coconut ( optional)
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of asafetida
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds/ kadugu
  • 1 tsp urad dal/ ulutham paruppu
  • few curry leaves ( optional)

  • Wash, top and tail the plantain

  • Cook the plantain in water with skin for approximately 10 mins. It should not get too soft/ mushy

  • Drain the water and let the plantain cool completely. This is very important.

  • In a pan add a little oil and roast the dried red chilli, channal dal till golden and fragrant. Set aside.
  • Powder the roast dal, red chilli with some asafetida and optional coconut into a coarse powder. set aside
  • Once the plantains cool thoroughly, peel the skin off.

  • Grate the plantain and set aside.

  • In a pan, add the oil and do the tadka with mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves.
  • Add the grated plantain, powdered spice mix. salt to taste.
  • Gentle toss them all till incorporated.
  • Sprinkle some water, cover and cook for 1-2 mins.
  • Turn the heat off and serve hot with rice, sambar or pulissery aka more kuzhambu.